How many of you have heard about this book? The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I read it while I was on Bald Head Island and found it quite fascinating. Several people recommended it to me knowing how much I love organization and decluttering (see my Home Neat Home pages for proof!). But even as a super organized person, I learned so much from the author, Marie Kondo.
Kondo talks a lot about her childhood and how she spent hours organizing her stuff along with her family and friends’ stuff. While I think she is much more of a tidying enthusiast than I am, I could totally relate to this. I used to rearrange my room weekly trying to find the perfect arrangement, and I loved to help my friends clean their rooms. I still love to clean and organized people’s kitchens! As a young adult, I was always looking for the best way to organize my things. (If you love organizing too, check out one of my favorite blogs!) My lightbulb moment happened just as I was reading about Kondo’s in her story – if you have to organize a lot you have too much stuff.
I am an odd cross between a minimalist on the outside and a pack rat on the inside. In other words, my house is void of clutter but inside every dresser/cabinet/container you’ll find lots of “might need this somedays” tucked away. For example: I have about 3 umbrellas more than I would ever need at one time. So I had some work to do.
In Kondo’s method, first you must go through every item in your home, hold it in your hands and ask yourself if it brings you joy. If you hesitate at all, it probably needs to go in the donate pile.
For the longest time I’ve done a similar process with my stuff. But instead of asking if it brings me joy, my question was: “Will I miss this if it’s gone?” Turns out I’ve been asking the wrong question my whole life! This was especially true with my clothes. I keep so many things out of guilt. Guilt that I didn’t wear it enough and get my money’s worth or guilt that someone gave it to me and I never loved it. When I asked Kondo’s joy question to my clothes, I was finally able to see clearly what needed to stay and what needed to go.
My closet can breathe!!!!!
I LOVED reading her chapter on the best ways to store things. As organized as she is, I am certain her way is the best way without question. Kondo recommends storing things vertically. This hadn’t crossed my mind before because vertical rows fall over easier, but it sure looks neater! Mazen’s clothes are now vertical, and it’s much easier to pick out his outfits for the day when I can see everything at once.
My clothes aren’t doing as well because I have so few per drawer in some cases! But I’m trying. You all are probably glad to hear I’m folding my clothes now instead of stuffing them in drawers : ) Laundry is taking me more time, but it does make me feel happier.
I love the idea that one should only own as much as her closet/house can fit. If something comes in and you’re out of space, then something else must go out. Take my shoe storage for example – there isn’t room for more. I have 4 pairs of boots (brown, black, snow and cowboy) and I really don’t need duplicate colors. Same with my heels – I have nude, black and denim and they are all super comfortable. No need for any more, and that keeps my closet feeling airy. If I have too many choices of anything – shoes, dresses, bathing suites, jewelry – I just end up wearing my favorites.
Another lightbulb moment: store things where you can see them. I had all of my make-up reserves hidden in a chest with lots of drawers. I could never remember what was in what drawer. So I took some Birchbox boxes and moved it all to this wide drawer so I can see everything at a glance. (I probably need to also go through this and weed out anything I haven’t used in a year!)
Other parts of my house were pretty organized to begin with, but I’ve made small tweaks here and there. Moving was actually a huuuuge cleansing process for me because I wanted all of our storage chests to fit things perfectly. So I only kept what I really loved. I was “Konmarie-ing” it without knowing it! I also always empty my car and purse when I come home, so that was another thing I was glad to read Kondo and I have in common : )
I highly recommend the book for everyone! My mom read it and has been downsizing her stuff much more efficiently. It’s an easy read, and will make you think. The whole time I was reading it away from home my mind would drift to certain things in my house that I wanted to go home and donate immediately. I’m glad I wasn’t home or I might never have finished the book too distracted by my things!
Kondo ends the book with a chapter that connects the state of your house with the state of your life. I can 100% say that they are connected for me, and the older I get the more simplified my house’s systems become. Most people accumulate more stuff with age. While we have more furniture and general categories of things than we did 5 years ago (like baby stuff), my house actually feels the most organized it’s been. Fresh air all around!